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Boyle Reaches Out to TV Reporter, Decries Primary Loss

Just a day after his fellow Democrats sought to create a special committee to oust “members unfit to serve” from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Philadelphia Rep. Kevin Boyle exchanged text messages with a local TV news reporter.

Boyle has been missing, and a warrant for his arrest was issued a week before the April 23 primary.

Then, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner rescinded the warrant the day before the primary, saying there was a mistake. Boyle had not violated a protection from abuse order after all since no PFA was in place.

Thursday, Boyle, 44, whose location remains a mystery, exchanged text messages with ABC27 reporter Dennis Owens.

“The 2024 Democratic primary in the 172nd was despicable on the part of law enforcement,” Boyle told Owens. He lost the primary to Sean Dougherty, a lawyer and the son of state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty and the nephew of embattled labor leader Johnny “Doc” Dougherty. Just before the primary, Dougherty’s campaign ran repeated television commercials bashing Boyle for the alleged PFA violation.

The state Democratic Committee backed Dougherty against Boyle, who was seeking his eighth term in the House.

Boyle gave Owens records of an expungement of his previous conviction.

“I wouldn’t have lost if rules had been followed and law enforcement had not played politics with a phony investigation about a nonexistent PFA which had already been expunged from my record,” Boyle texted.

And Boyle seemed bitter in this text: “America is not a banana republic. Elections and politics can never be the deciding factor behind why “investigations” are started by law enforcement. It’s despicable that any law enforcement official would spread a rumor about me being ‘investigated’ or about to be ‘arrested’ to advance a political goal.”

On Monday, House GOP leaders held a press conference, saying they had sent a letter to Attorney General Michelle Henry and asked her to investigate Krasner’s handling of the Boyle arrest warrant. Previously, the House voted to impeach Krasner, but Krasner appealed to the Commonwealth Court, which dismissed some of the charges. The House impeachment managers then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which has not ruled.

Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) declined to comment on the new development in the Kevin Boyle saga Thursday evening. Democratic Leader Matt Bradford (D-Norristown) did not respond to a request for comment.

Boyle, whose brother, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, represents northeast Philadelphia in Congress, has spoken about Kevin Boyle’s mental health issues in the past. In February, Kevin Boyle caused a fracas at a bar in Rockledge. No charges were filed.

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New Secret PA House Committee Could Determine Whether to Expel Members

In a party-line vote Wednesday, the Pennsylvania House Rules Committee approved a resolution to form a new committee that would operate in secret to determine whether a member is incapacitated.

The move comes in the wake of the disappearance of Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia), who is reportedly suffering from mental illness. If passed by the full House, the committee would have the authority to subpoena medical records and to suspend a member without pay.

House Minority Leader Bryan Culter (R-Lancaster) vehemently objected to this resolution, saying there was no need since the ethics committee could already handle injuries.

However, Majority Leader Matthew Bradford (D-Norristown) defended the move, saying it was needed and accusing members of slandering Boyle during previous public discussions. He claimed Cutler was engaging in “political theater.”

“If the conduct of a member rises to the level of being put before a secret tribunal, maybe it should also rise to the level of being expelled,” said Cutler. “I believe this is ripe for challenge in the courts, and it is unconstitutional.”

Bradford said it was “a delicate, personal issue,” and the member remains “in our prayers and thoughts.”

“We are dealing with an unparalleled and historic challenge,” said Bradford. “But one this majority will deal with. Cutler tried to ask a question, and Bradford told him, “We’ve already listened to you,  ad nauseam.”

Talking to the press afterward, Cutler said he had less than half an hour to review the resolution, which was changed from earlier versions, and it wasn’t publicly available before the meeting. He called the new committee “an inquisition.”

“This situation is very politicized,” said Cutler. “They actively ran a candidate against the gentlemen (Boyle).” The Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, Sean Dougherty, bested Boyle in the primary.

And whether someone is capable of serving should be left to doctors to decide, Cutler said.

Cutler said that the Democrats are only creating this new committee and process so they can continue to pass legislation 102-101 through the budget cycle. The state budget is due to be adopted June 30. The Democrats have been voting for Boyle by proxy in his absence.

“It’s very, very wrong,” said Cutler. When it comes to removing anybody from this chamber, they have a constitutional right to come to the well and defend themselves.”

He added that if the secret committee voted to expel someone, the entire House would need to vote, and the information would then become public.

“The process and case law are very clear,” said Cutler. “We don’t need an unnecessary rule change to defend the Democrats’ majority as we head into the budget.”

Cutler also accused the Democrats of going back and rewriting the digital accounts of what occurred in this process.

“A tribunal held in secret as well as secretly rewriting the journal weeks after things occur is not how the commonwealth should be run and once again demonstrates why they should not be in charge,” said Cutler.

Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), the Republican whip,  said, “One of the things I hear quite often in political campaigns throughout the commonwealth and around the country is, ‘Our democracy is at stake.’ Let that sink in. Our democracy is at stake—a clear narrative across the country. But the majority just passed out of the rules committee the ability to suspend without pay a duly elected representative of the People’s House, under the sole recommendation of the leader of the party and a simple majority vote of five members. So we now have power rested in the czar and the oligarchs that surround him.

There is nothing Democratic about what we just did. It is an insult to this institution. And it is an insult to our constitution of this commonwealth,” O’Neal said.

Culter noted that the Democrats spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for Dougherty’s campaign against Boyle, running commercials with the same information. “Were they also slanderous?” he asked.

Bradford did not respond to a request for comment on the resolution, which would need to be passed by the entire House before it could take effect.

 

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House GOP Asks AG To Investigate Krasner’s Handling of Boyle Case

Pennsylvania House Republicans want the state Attorney General to look into the case of “Runaway Rep” Kevin Boyle and, in particular, the treatment the lawmaker received from his fellow Philadelphia Democrat, District Attorney Larry Krasner.

At issue is the curious case of an arrest warrant filed a week before the state primary against Boyle (D-Philadelphia), then withdrawn by Larry Krasner the day before the polls opened.

On Tuesday, House GOP Leader Bryan Cutler held a press conference to announce the Republican caucus sent a letter to Attorney General Michelle Henry asking her to investigate the matter.

Boyle, who reportedly suffers from mental illness, disappeared from the House and could not be located. He remains missing. His brother, Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), said then that his brother declined help.

Boyle lost the primary to Democratic challenger Sean Dougherty, the son of state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty and nephew of disgraced union leader Johnny “Doc” Doughtery. State Democrats had supported Dougherty over Boyle. In the fall, Doughtery faces Republican Aizaz Gill.

According the Cutler, Krasner’s actions in the Boyle case are so questionable that an outside review is required.

“While we all continue to be concerned about Rep. Boyle, there are a few things we know about the issuance and withdrawal of the arrest warrant,” said Cutler (R-Lancaster).

“We know the arrest warrant was announced a week before the primary election. The candidate who was the subject of that warrant was being opposed by his own party’s leadership. We know that the announcement of the arrest warrant being withdrawn was literally made on the eve of the 2024 primary election. We know DA Krasner has a history of political, inappropriate and unprofessional management of his office.”

The House impeached Krasner in 2022, and the Commonwealth Court rejected two of three articles of impeachment. The House then appealed to the state Supreme Court where it remains pending. Published reports say Krasner will seek a third term.

“This incident adds fuel to an already troubling pattern of lies and incompetence under district attorney Larry Krasner’s leadership,” said Martina White (R-Philadelphia). “Since taking office, the Philadelphia DA and his office have shown a concerning disregard for victims, court procedures, and the essence of judicial responsibility.”

She pointed out judges’ criticism of Krasner, his “attempting to unjustly convict an officer of murder and to spring a convicted murderer off of death row.”

“We cannot trust this district attorney to tell the truth about what happened in this case either,” said White. She accused Krasner of fostering “a dangerous pattern that jeopardizes public safety and erodes trust in our legal system.”

“The case of Rep. Kevin Boyle is not an outlier,” she said.

“This case is symptomatic of an office that has repeatedly exploited its power, not merely bending the rules but breaking them,” said White. “When a district attorney’s office can mislead a grand jury and deny a police officer his civil rights, as noted by Justice Kevin Dougherty, we must confront the reality that this is not about isolated incidents. It is about systemic failure.”

White said the DA’s office must approve violations of a protection from abuse order (the charge against Boyle).

“The law was not followed. And the proper procedures were not followed,” said Cutler. “Our main concern is on the eve of an election, does it qualify as election interference?”

Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) declined to comment through a spokeswoman. And the Attorney General’s Office acknowledged receiving the letter but declined further comment.

Krasner, however, remained combative. His spokesperson attacked House Republicans as “enemies of democracy” for questioning the DA’s behavior.

“The call from Pennsylvania House Republicans for an investigation is merely another instance of political theater by enemies of democracy,” said Dustin Slaughter with the D.A.’s office. “It’s ironic that many of those pushing for this investigation were also involved in disputing the 2020 election, as reported by the nonpartisan States United Democracy Center. Reps. George Dunbar, Bryan Cutler, Martina White, Seth Grove, and Joshua Kail were among those who contested the election.

“Perhaps we should be investigating actual attempts to undermine the integrity of our democratic process and continuing attempts to silence Philadelphia voters instead,” Slaughter said. “Regardless of these Republicans’ bogus efforts at distraction, we will continue to fight crime as they require us to fight stupid.”

 

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Missing Philly State Rep Inspires New PA House Rule on Expulsion

As state Rep. Kevin Boyle remains a wanted man for allegedly violating a protection from abuse order, Pennsylvania House Democrats have proposed new rules on expelling members who are incapable of performing their duties.

House Majority Leader Matthew Bradford (D-Norristown) put forward a resolution after Republican complaints that Democrats put politics before Boyle’s ability to serve. Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Pennsylvania House, with 102 seats. That is the threshold needed to pass legislation along party lines.

On Wednesday, the day after Philadelphia police issued an arrest warrant for the Philadelphia Democrat, Republicans tried to either put Boyle on leave or adjourn the House until April 29. Those attempts failed along party lines.

Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) and other Democrats relied on an obscure rule that allowed a proxy to cast votes in Boyle’s absence. In other words, Boyle was still casting votes even though House leadership said they had no idea where he was.

The new proposal, introduced Thursday, would create a subcommittee featuring the Speaker, Majority Leader, Majority Caucus Chair, Minority Leader, and Minority Caucus Chair. Expulsion procedures couldn’t start until the floor leader of the party to which the member belongs asked for an incapacity inquiry. The confidential request would include the representative’s name and a reason for the inquiry request.

According to the proposal, a confidential subcommittee hearing would be held within 30 days. Committee members could request a psychological evaluation and witness testimony. The subcommittee would recommend to the full House for a vote. Options include suspension, expulsion, or limiting a member’s power.

House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said Bradford’s proposal complicates a simple problem.

“House Democrats must join with us in immediately stopping Rep. Boyle’s ability to vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives until this issue is finally resolved,” Cutler told DVJournal. “Pennsylvania House Democrats continue to use this tragedy to further the tyranny of their majority, and that is shameful.”

Other Republicans remain frustrated with Democrats for what happened on the House floor.

“There’s no doubt Rep. Boyle needs help,” Rep. Kristin Marcell (R-Bucks) told DVJournal. “But as to Leader Bradford, it’s interesting that just a few days ago, he stood silent with his House Democrats and allowed a member wanted for arrest for violating a protection order against a woman to vote as if nothing happened.”

Boyle, who wants an eighth term in the state House, faces the end of his political career instead.

The Democratic primary is on April 23, and his opponent, Sean Dougherty, enjoys support from the state party.

Dougherty, a lawyer and son of state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, told DVJournal he hopes Boyle gets the help he needs. And Dougherty is telling voters via a television commercial about Boyle’s problems and to vote for Dougherty instead in the primary on Tuesday.

Boyle’s mental health has apparently been on the decline this year. In February, Rockledge police investigated a confrontation between Boyle and a female bartender. Charges were not filed.

His brother, Congressman Brendan Boyle, has said he refuses to get help.

Philadelphia police said Friday morning that Kevin Boyle was not in custody. Calls to his office went to a switchboard.

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House Dems Use Obscure Rule to Keep Philly’s Boyle Legislating While On the Lam

Delaware Valley Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle may have been on the run from the cops Wednesday, but that didn’t stop him from casting votes to keep his party in the majority.

“You’ve got an individual who has an arrest warrant out, who is either a fugitive from justice and waiting to be processed, or they are in communication about his votes and are harboring him and should indicate that to law enforcement,” said an astonished House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster).

Speaker Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) controls the House, the slimmest of majorities. And so rather than removing Boyle from his duties (representing part of northeast Philadelphia), she called a meeting of a committee that had never convened before to cast a party-line vote declaring Boyle eligible to vote by proxy.

That’s how, even though an arrest warrant had been issued alleging Boyle had violated a protection from abuse order and had not turned himself in to the police, he was still (remotely) participating in the democratic process.

Or rather, House Republicans complained, the “Democratic” process.

“It’s just a further abuse for them to maintain their majority and ensure they have votes,” Cutler said. “The idea of a fugitive from law or somebody sitting in jail, whose whereabouts are completely unknown,  being able to continue to cast votes, is wrong.”

“This is purely again political for the Democrats to remain in power,” added Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia). “And what they’re doing with it is basically causing democracy to die today.”

Aizaz Gill, a Republican running for Boyle’s seat, said, “While Rep. Boyle should resign and seek the help he needs, the bigger issue today is the House Democrats allowing a proxy vote on the House floor by someone never elected by the people of the Northeast. This is an unprecedented action designed solely to maintain political power and is an affront to democracy and the people of the 172nd District. It shows everything that is wrong with our system.”

Patrick Gushue, who is also running in the Republican primary, said, “I sincerely hope state Rep. Kevin Boyle receives all the help he may need. This unfortunate incident further highlights the importance of April 23rd’s Republican primary election.

“Republican voters of the 172nd District hold the power to make a real change, and I encourage everyone to to have their voice heard by casting a vote this Tuesday,” added Gushue.

Boyle, who is seeking his eighth term in the state House, is the brother of Congressman Brendon Boyle. Brandon Boyle did not respond to requests for comment.

He’s being challenged in the April 23 Democratic primary by Sean Dougherty, a lawyer and the son of state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty.

“I hope that Rep. Boyle seeks and receives the help and treatment that he needs for himself and his family,” Dougherty said Wednesday. “Mental health does not have a party affiliation.”

Boyle has a history of mental illness, and this isn’t the first time he’s been crosswise with the law.

In 2021, Republicans called for Boyle to resign after he was charged with violating a protection from abuse order and harassment.

On Feb. 8, Rockledge Police investigated Boyle after an incident at the Malt House on Huntingdon Pike where he allegedly threatened a female bartender. A bouncer removed him from the taproom, and he walked away.  The bartender declined to press charges, according to Rockledge Police Chief John Gallagher.

Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), the House Republican Whip, called the situation “egregious.”

“Regardless of the challenges Rep. Boyle is facing at the current moment, we all know he’s not representing anybody. He is literally on the run from a warrant that’s been issued for his arrest, or he’s literally sitting in jail. Either of those should disqualify him from voting in the current moment,” O’Neal. said.

“This entire thing could have been avoided by simply putting him on leave,” Cutler said.